Latest Cancer News
"Vitamin D decreases inflammation in tissues, and inflammation is a driver of cancer," explained Bruce Hollis, the study's lead researcher and a professor of pediatrics, biochemistry and molecular biology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
For the study, researchers randomly assigned 37 men who elected to have their prostate removed to receive either 4,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D or an inactive placebo daily for 60 days before their operation.
When the prostate gland was examined after their surgery, researchers found that many who received vitamin D had improvements in their prostate tumors, while the tumors in the placebo group remained the same or got worse.
Doctors often recommend a "watch and wait" period for men with low-grade, or less aggressive, prostate tumors. But many patients and their families aren't comfortable waiting and opt to have surgery before it's deemed medically necessary. These findings suggest that taking vitamin D might help reduce the need for such radical treatment.
But Dr. Anthony D'Amico, chief of radiation oncology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, said that this study was too small to reach any definitive conclusion about the value of vitamin D in fighting prostate cancer.
"It's premature to make any conclusions," he said. The findings also need to be replicated in a much larger number of patients, D'Amico said.
Vitamin D, known as the "sunshine vitamin," is produced by the body when it's exposed to sun. It's also found in fortified dairy products and fatty fish.
The study results were scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Denver. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Copyright © 2015 HealthDay. All rights reserved.